I was relatively fit when I was in my twenties. Since i left school I regularly lifted weights and occasionally some Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. But how the passage of time changes things! As i now approach 40 I can conclude that middle age is definitely setting in. Well recently I had my mid life crisis moment and started to go back to my old gym. I hadn’t been in 10 years or so, and boy has it changed.
When i used to frequent it was a recently quiet gym. Some times during the day there would only have been a handful of people there. Now it has been completely revamped. It is a quite small gym, with only one bench press and 1 squat rack. But now it is packed wall to wall with the new generation of testosterone fuelled youngsters.
Sure i’m getting on a bit, but the majority are gung-ho and immature with their training methods. Ego is definitely at the forefront. A couple of ill-communicative teenagers were trying to hurry me off the bench. I was having a light day only doing about 150 pounds. As soon as i finished the guys who were a lot lighter than me proceeded to start with 220 pounds on the bar for a warm up. Needless to say one lowered into the press whilst 2 spotters done most of the work and lifted the bar off his chest for him for several reps.
Good workout indeed. I was glad to see they learned their lesson on the next set. They added another 50 pounds to the bar. How they expect to progress or stay out of hospital in the future is beyond me. Even the top powerlifters I used to train with always started with the bar light to warm up. It stretches the muscles and prepares them for the bigger load later on.
Well I don’t think I will go back to my old haunt. There is a powerlifters gym on the other side of town that has a much more sensible clientele and a better music policy to boot. What is it with all these modern gym revamps designed to attract teenagers that has so much EDM music blasting out with explicit lyrics cranking out at over 110db? No wonder you see weeds curling in the squat bar in these gyms.
So all i need in a modern gym is a large area with plenty of free weights and loads of squat racks, a no music policy, or somewhere that plays a little ambient music so it doesn’t over power your headphones if you want to drown out the sound system. Some decent cardio equipment like a Merit fitness treadmill or a Sole Elliptical for days when you need to trim up is preferred. It really is the atmosphere and the amount of space and equipment it has that makes it.
If the owners have a mandate where they regularly update the machines, keep it clean and have plenty of space, modern changing and showering facilities – it makes all the difference. This creates a good atmosphere and ensures the rowdies don’t overrun the gym.